WIPO logo
Mobile | Deutsch | English | Español | 日本語 | 한국어 | Português | Русский | 中文 | العربية |
PATENTSCOPE

Recherche dans les collections de brevets nationales et internationales
World Intellectual Property Organization
Recherche
 
Options de navigation
 
Traduction
 
Options
 
Quoi de neuf
 
Connexion
 
Aide
 
maximize
Traduction automatique
1. (WO2002081021) DISPOSITIF D'ASSISTANCE CARDIAQUE MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMIQUE
Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

TITLE: MAGNETOHYDRODYNAMIC CARDIAC ASSIST DEVICE
TECHNICAL FIELD of the INVENTION

The present invention relates to cardiac assist devices, and in particular to a magnetohydrodynamic (MHD) heart pump which is less intrusive, and more effective, and easier to implement than prior art designs. The system of the present invention has no moving parts to wear out or break down, and is far less invasive than prior art systems.
The preferred embodiment of the present invention contemplates a cardio assist device utilizing MHD, wherein an first and second, parallel electrodes forming an electrode assembly are placed, via the patient's femoral artery, into the aorta in the vicinity of the abdomen, which electrode assembly is exposed to a high density magnetic field generated outside of the patient. A current generated by a control unit energizes the first and second electrodes, and the blood situated therebetween, causing the high density magnetic field to interact with the energized blood, hydrodynamically motivating said blood to flow through the electrode assembly, in a uniform direction, thereby providing a fluid pumping force and pressure commensurate with the product of the magnetic field strength and the induced current in the blood vessel in accordance with MHD theory and practice, the general operational theory of which was first understood and explained by Scottish physicist James C. Maxwell in the mid- 19th century.
In the preferred embodiment of the invention, the magnetic field is generated exterior of the patient via a superconducting magnet which is designed to produce a large magnetic field in the middle torso of the patient, so that the electrode assembly is generally centrally disposed within the magnetic field, along a longitudinal axis aligned with the aorta (and/or vena cava), and with electrode current flow generally orthogonal to the magnetic field.
Sensors monitoring the patient may utilize electrocardiogram (ECG), blood pressure, and blood flow, and other data to control the current in the blood in order to vary the pumping pressure and flow, so as to emulate the pumping action and intensity of the patients heart in real time, so as to lessen the trauma of artificial pumping assistance, or bypass on the patient.
The present device, in addition to use as an LVAD, may also be utilized to provide full cardiac blood flow, as when a heart is stopped for bypass surgery, or to provide targeted limb or organ perfusion in a patient.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Nearly one million acute cardiac failure fatalities occur each year in the U.S., many of which would have been preventable if there had been developed a suitable artificial heart. Heart assist or left ventricular assist devices (LVAD=s) are currently large, very invasive (requiring major chest surgery) and represent a significant patient risk.
These pumps require surgery to implant tubes, wires and other large devices to provide the motive pumping power which normally enters and exits the body cavity in the chest area. Typically large and percutaneous devices, they represent a significant surgical risk in their implementation, even if they do provide the necessary coronary assistance. Removing these devices requires another major bout of surgery with the attendant risks.
Another problem with current LVAD devices is the possibility that the quality of circulation provided by the units, which lack the sophistication of being able to emulate the natural rhythm of the heart, and which may provide insufficient blood flow to the brain or other organs, to an extent that serious medical consequences arise. Finally, most of the LVAD pumps currently in use cause some destruction of red blood cells due to the destructive mechanical pumping means utilized.
A plethora of artificial heart designs have been contemplated and tested, including:
Cardio-pulmonary bypass machines, which are utilized in bypass surgery when the heart is stopped and the pumping action is taken over by a machine exterior from the patient that uses a mechanical pumping action such as a roller pump. These machines are for temporary use only, and require extensive thoracic invasion and medication for implementation and use. Long term use would be fatal, and even short term use can result in hemorrhaging, infection, renal failure, stroke, and other serious effects.
An Archimedes type screw device was available for some time that was inserted in the femoral artery and advanced into the Aorta as a type of mechanical LVAD. It would spin fast and propel blood along the length of the Aorta toward the feet.
An intra-aortic balloon pump (IAPB) has been around for about 20 years. It is inserted in the Aorta and blown up partially obstructing the aorta when the heart pumps. This helps preserve the heart and brain blood flow in times of low cardiac output by lowering the afterload on the heart and increasing flow to the coronary arteries and carotid arteries.
Artificial hearts are generally mechanically similar to the mechanical LVADs, but are configured to replace the entire heart (both the left and right side). These devices have been implemented both internally and externally, but with likewise unsatisfactory results.
All of the above devices are very invasive, requiring massive and lengthy thoracic surgery . The support equipment for these pump designs generally require chest penetrations and significant cardiac trauma for installation, sometimes including penetration of the heart itself. Lastly, the mechanical pumping action in all of the above designs is believed to cause damage to the blood constituents.
Patent 4,838,850 teaches an Electromedical Treatment Apparatus and which contemplates utilizing MHD effect to urge blood flow through blood vessels to increase circulation in targeted areas of the body. This patent does not contemplate the insertion of a device within the vasculature, but rather contemplates the use of magnetic lens to facilitate concentrated magnetic fields at a target area within the body, which may include a blood vessel, to utilize MHD effect to urge circulation of blood therethrough. (Col 7, lines 5-32).
Patent 2,612,109 contemplates an earlier MHD pump design from the 50's.
Patent 5,888,241 teaches a cannula pump driven by an impeller to assist the ventricals of the heart. The device comprises a tube which includes magnetic windings for driving the impeller.
See also 5,851,174.
Patent 5,911,685 teaches an Intravascular micro axial pump which may be installed by advancing same through the patients vasculature, avoiding invasive chest surgery. The system incorporates an electrically driven, micro-motor having an impeller for pumping.

Patent 5,385,581 teaches a Magnetically Suspended and Rotated Rotor in the form of a blood pump. This patent contemplates providing an impeller suspended and driven by a magnetic field, and includes feedback means in the form of sensors to monitor the patient, and computer control means to energize the coils with currents having frequency and amplitude adjusted in relation to the blood pressure at the pump inlet, so as to match the flow characteristics of the pump to physiological characteristics of the natural heart. Further, patent 5928131 also teaches a magnetically suspended, impeller driven heart pump with control means configured to simulate the beating of the patient=s natural heart. See also patents 5,685,700 and 5470208, other magnetically suspended impeller systems configured to form blood pumps or the like.

Patent 5,762,599 entitled "Magnetically-Coupled Implantable Medical Devices" teaches a variety of implantable devices, including pumps, valves, a bone stretching device, and an artificial sphincter which are driven by external drive magnets mounted for rotation externally about the subjects body, thus incorporating teachings of relevance to the present, searched for invention, although nonetheless distinguishable therefrom.
Patent 5,891,134 teaches what may be considered to be the use of MHD technology to provide heat to tissue.
Patent 5,763,951 teaches an MHD pump for a circuit board developed by Northrop Grumman.
Patent 5,668,420 teaches an MHD propulsion system design for ships, submarines or the like utilizing a superconducting solenoid coil within a tube having a helical flow path, the system utilizing a coil configured to provide about 6-12 Tesla, and is provided as an example of this application, of which several patents have issued..
Patent 4,265, 680 issued 1981 teaches a Method of Making Hollow Magnetic Pipe for conveying conductive fluid in magnetohydrodynamic energy amplification systems; patent 4,252,605 also teaches a tube which may have MHD applications.
In summary, the prior art has contemplated blood pumps, artificial hearts, LVADs and the like relying upon mechanical pumping mechanisms which have included, for example, impellers, helical screws, bladders, pistons, vacuum, centrifugal, peristaltic pumps and the like.

The above systems have considerable documented shortcomings including:
pumps incorporating an impeller design or the like tend to damage blood cells;
mechanical pumps have a limited life span which is not assured due to premature failure;
infection can be a problem, not only with the sterility of the unit itself, but also with the drive means, which often is exterior to the patient (ex. fluid driven heart pump);
the pumping action (hydrostatic pressures) can facilitate circulatory and red blood cell damage, renal failure, strokes, and a long list of other damaging effects;
the pumping action has limited capabilities for control and feedback, and generally cannot be satisfactorily varied to imitate the natural rhythm and flow
of the heart; and
internal pumps require massive invasion into the chest of the patient, and may require the complete severing and splicing a major artery to the unit.
Thus, there exits the need for a cardiac assist device which is minimally invasive and quickly implemented, providing a circulatory flow which is effective for life support, while being non-damaging to the patient.

GENERAL SUMMARY DISCUSSION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention utilizes magnetohydrodynamic technologies which have been proven for use in submarines and ships as propulsion systems, wherein first and second electrodes are employed along opposing walls of a conduit to provide a current flow through seawater situated therebetween. A superconducting, high field strength magnet is then employed to provide a high (known to be as high as 20 Tesla) magnetic field line of flux orthogonal to the current flow, which causes hydrodynamic forces upon the electrified seawater in accordance with the "right hand rule", thereby pumping the seawater through the system with no moving parts or vibrations.
The present invention contemplates an adoption of this technology in a wholly new and different field, i.e., to provide an MHD cardiac assist device which is safe and effective to use, requiring minimal invasive surgery for implementation on a rapid basis, while providing a circulatory flow which is effective for life support.
Cardiovascular disease accounts for nearly 1 million deaths each year in the U.S. For many coronary patients, the heart could repair much of its own damaged muscle if part of the pumping effort were temporarily taken over by some assist device. If this assist device could be placed into and removed from the patient by way of their femoral blood vessels, for instance, the patient's heart blood flow could be maintained, as required, while reducing the physical load on the heart and allowing the injured muscle time to recover. This recovery period is expected to be from a few days to a few weeks, at which time the assist device would be turned off and removed from the patient.
The major advantage of the present invention, as compared to existing LVAD designs, is that the surgery risks to the already traumatized heart do not need to be taken. Rather, the present invention, an MHD-based LVAD uses the well established and relatively non-invasive catheter technology to install electrodes within a major blood vessel of the patient, well away from the heart, in order to facilitate blood flow. The present invention is designed for rapid, nominally invasive deployment, providing the urgent assistance needed by an acute cardiac failure patient, unlike the current support devices.
Installation of the system of the present invention could be performed in an emergency room, which frequently is where the temporary pumping assistance is often needed. The only additional equipment needed would be a high field magnet (not unlike current MRI magnets), and the special catheters and associated electronics to power the pump through small wires within the catheter structure.
In the present invention, the blood vessel pressure waveform can be modified specifically to avoid the problem of starving a specific organ due to reduced blood flow, by appropriate programming of the electronics that drive the pump, thus modifying the pressure during specific times of the periodic pumping cycle. Finally, most of the LVAD pumps currently in use cause some destruction of red blood cells. In contrast, the MHD pump of the present invention has no moving parts which should avoid the mechanical destruction of the blood components.
Existing LVAD devices require a large amount of electrical or pneumatic energy. Supplying this energy through percutaneous terminals or through an A.C. energy source and the attendant transformer through the skin coupling devices are the only alternatives available. Neither one of these alternatives is free from the risks of surgery and later infections, and supporting the mass of this equipment within the body cavity is a significant task.
By contrast, the pumping action of the MHD LVAD pump of the present invention is the result from the interaction of a high strength magnetic field generated by a magnet external to the patient, and a low level current conducted across the internal diameter of a blood vessel via a length of electrode. The electronics which drive the present pump would be external to the subject, and intrinsic electrical signals from the subjects heart used to synchronize the pumping signals utilizing cardiac signal sensors or commonly inserted ECG electrodes. Finally, the external magnetic field can be selected so that the current density in the blood stream is low enough to avoid excessive joule heating.
Heart assist devices should be designed to assist the heart while it repairs itself by taking over part of the hearts mechanical pumping work. The current technology of placing devices and tubes into and around the heart itself produces more traumatized heart muscle that must then be repaired by the hearts own resources in addition to the effort required to repair the damage that caused the initial need for emergency treatment.
In contrast, the present inventions technique of placing and removing the pumping device by the way of a major blood vessel using catheter technology eliminates trauma to the heart and the surrounding structure. If further surgery is required on the heart itself, the cardiac surgeon has a site with no scar tissue problems resulting from previous cardiac support device surgery.

Most heart patients, when the problem is the pump mechanism itself, are brought to a treatment center (hospital emergency room) and need immediate assistance or they will die. The use of drugs is of limited benefit, and an external heart/lung machine takes a lot of time to setup to take over the pumping task. The installation and implementation of a conventional LVAD requires major surgery as well as the use of a heart/lung machine during part of the operation.

For an LVAD to be of maximum use in saving the life of a person with this class of heart trauma, the device must be implanted and started very quickly. Ideally, this should be accomplished in the emergency room itself, or in a nearby Intensive Care Unit containing the necessary equipment.
It is this unmet need for an immediate pumping aid, to allow time for the heart to repair itself, that the present invention provides, as indicated, without the need for invasive and risky thoracic surgery.
That the MHD pump of the present invention will pump a conductive liquid in the presence of a properly oriented magnetic field is beyond question, the technology already proven and successfully demonstrated, as discussed above, for an advanced submarine propulsion concept. Further, the drive technologies employed in the present invention is based upon a fundamental theory of magnetism developed by James C. Maxwell, namely, that a conductor containing a transverse magnetic field and an electrical current flowing orthogonal to this field will have a force applied upon the conductor which is proportional to the product of the current times the magnetic field strength. It is this fundamental principle which will allow the present invention to effectively and safely, without mechanical movement, hydrodynamically pump blood utilizing a simple electrode assembly situated within the blood vessel, in conjunction with a high field strength magnet which may be readily made utilizing presently available materials and technologies.
In addition to use as an LVAD, the system of the present invention may also be utilized to enhance limb perfiision in a variety of circulation disorders, including, for example, blood clots, thrombosis, frostbite, limb re-attachment, organ perfiision, carotid perfiision in cases of carotid artery spasm after angiogram, and increased profusion for acute stroke syndrome.
Another major intended use for this device is a by-pass pump support for coronary artery by-pass surgery. While electrodes in the abdominal aorta will provide a magnetohydrodynamic motive force away from the heart, one similarly placed in the Inferior vena cava of the abdomen with the electrodes oriented opposite the aortic ones will in turn flow blood toward the heart. With both electrodes energized and independently controllable, complete cardiac pumping action may be taken over for the heart just as it is currently done with a heart by-pass machine, but with major improvement.
Namely, with the present system, a profound advantage is created that gives surgeons the ability to perform lifesaving by-pass surgery without the need to grossly open the chest cavity. Current cardiac by-pass apparatuses require the chest cavity be opened to install large tubes in to the heart and major blood vessels so that the blood can be removed from the body and circulated through a pumping machine. After external by-pass is established, then the heart can be stopped to allow repair of coronary blood vessels.
In contrast, in the MHD system of the present invention, the chest opening is not necessary to establish artificial circulation. The pump electrodes will be inserted through a blood vessel (s) such as the femoral artery and vein then the electrodes will be advanced into the aorta and inferior vena cava respectively. Electrode polarity will be such that the aorta has flow away from the heart and the inferior vena cava has flow toward the heart.
This push-pull action of the MHD pump will allow full blood flow at rest. Once this is in effect, much less invasive procedures can occur to repair coronary blood vessels such as through an endoscope. Through an endoscope the heart may be stopped electrically as is commonly done with open procedures, then coronary artery by-pass surgery procedures may be preformed. The heart would be restarted through an endoscope and the scopes removed.
By not opening the chest, patient's would not have to suffer through the risk, pain, and other problems associated with the current method of by-pass surgery such as: having their sternum cut in half, ribs stretched and broken, massive bleeding, life threatening scar tissue build up on the heart and internal chest cavity, blood pumped outside the body for support, lengthy invasive surgery, massive exposure of the internal chest to infection to just mention a few.
Therefore, it is anticipated that the present invention and system will reduce morbidity and mortality greatly from surgery such as a CABG for the above reasons. One could make a similar comparison to medical improvement with the laproscopic way of performing gallbladder surgery verses the previous way of removing the gallbladder through a large incision in the abdominal wall. The older what was termed "open" surgery would expose patients to a higher level of infection, more bleeding, pain, complications, longer procedure, and much longer recovery time. The "open" procedure would bring with it a six to eight week recovery time while with a laproscopic procedure a weekend of recovery is all that is necessary. In this case, as with a CABG, getting to the location to do the procedure is much worse than the procedure itself.

It is therefore an object of the present invention to provide a minimally invasive cardio pump which is quickly installed and effective in operation.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an cardio pump which has no moving parts and which pumps blood in such a fashion as to lessen the chances of damage to same.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an cardio pump which provides a pumping action which is based upon real time data from the heart of the patient, in order to optimize flow.
It is another object of the present invention to provide an cardio pump system wherein the electrodes are relatively inexpensive to manufacture and which may be disposable so as to provide maximum sterility.
Lastly, it is an object of the present invention to provide a method and system for cardiac heart assist utilizing magnetohydrodynamic drive utilizing a magnet exterior of the patient to generate a high density magnetic field about a portion of the torso of a patient, and a length of electrode placed within a major blood vessel of the patient within the magnetic field, in order to provide MHD flow of blood or other conductive fluid in the vicinity of the electrode, to support the heart of the patient.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

For a further understanding of the nature and objects of the present invention, reference should be had to the following detailed description, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings, in which like parts are given like reference numerals, and wherein:
Figure 1 is an isometric view of the preferred embodiment of the MHD cardio assist system of the present invention, illustrating a patient reclining within the exterior magnet, and further illustrating the computer control unit (CCU) controlling an electrode implanted within the patient.
Figure 2 is a side, partially cut-away view of the invention of Figure 1, illustrating an electrode assembly implanted in the aorta of the patient, and a representative magnetic field generated by the exterior magnet of Figure 1.
Figure 3A is a top, partially cut-away view of Figure 2, illustrating the electrode assembly implanted in the aorta of the patient, and the control wires passing therefrom, through the femoral artery, and out of the patient to be controlled by the CCU of Figure 1.
Figure 3B is a top, partially cut-away view of an alternative embodiment of the invention of Figure 3 A, illustrating first and second electrode assemblies implanted in the aorta and vena cava of the patient, respectively, and the control wires passing therefrom, out of the patient to be controlled by the CCU of Figure 1.
Figure 4 A is an enlarged, top, partially cut-away view of Figure 3, illustrating an exemplary electrode configuration comprising first and second, spread ribbon electrodes situated in spaced relationship, enveloping opposing anterior and posterior walls, respectively, of the aorta of the patient.
Figure 4B is a side view of the invention of Figure 4A, illustrating the spacing of the anterior and posterior electrodes within the aorta.
Figure 4C is a cross-sectional view of the invention of Figures 4 A and 4B, illustrating the positioning of the anterior and posterior electrodes within the aorta.
Figure 4D is a table indicating estimated current and voltage input into an exemplary electrode array having a size comparable to the exemplary electrodes employed in the present invention, and anticipated pumping pressure in an MHD drive scenario with a 7 Tesla, pumping Ringers Solution.
Figure 4E is a table indicating estimated current and voltage input into an exemplary electrode array having a size comparable to the exemplary electrodes employed in the present invention, and anticipated pumping pressure in an MHD drive scenario with a 7 Tesla, pumping Saline Solution.
Figure 5 is a top view of the method of installation of the electrodes into the patient, illustrating the electrodes being fed from the femoral artery of the patient into the abdominal artery.
Figure 6 A is an exemplary, cross-sectional view of the exterior magnet of Figure 1.
Figure 6B is an end view of the exterior magnet of Figure 6 A.
Figure 7 illustrates comparative ECG, Blood Pressure, and Blood Flow of an exemplary patient, as well as an exemplary LVAD assist waveform illustrating the patients condition with and without the LVAD assist of the present invention.
Figure 8 is a close-up, top, partially cut-away view of the invention of Figure 3B, illustrating the first and second electrode assemblies implanted in the aorta and vena cava, respectively, and the directions of blood flow therefrom.
Figure 8 A is a cross-sectional view of the invention of Figure 8, illustrating the posterior and anterior electrode alignment of the electrode assemblies in the aorta and vena cava, respectively, and the lateral magnetic wave field traversing therethrough.
Figure 8B is an isometric, partially cross-sectional view of the invention of Figure 8 A, illustrating the posterior and anterior electrode alignment of the electrode assemblies in the aorta and vena cava, the blood flow therefrom, and the lateral magnetic wave field traversing therethrough.
Figure 8C is a cross-sectional view of the invention of Figures 8A and 8B, illustrating the positioning of the anterior and posterior electrodes within the inferior vena cava, and associated polarities therewith.
Figure 9 illustrates comparative ECG, Blood Pressure, and Blood Flow of exemplary, artificial waveforms of the present MHD pump system as used in a coronary bypass operation without the heart functioning, wherein electrode assemblies in the Aorta and Vena Cava simulate the pumping of the heart.

Detailed Discussion of the Invention

Continuing with Figure 1 of the drawings, the invention I of the current invention is driven by a very high field strength electromagnet, anticipated to have a strength of 5-10 Tesla; the exemplary embodiment of the electromagnet having a field strength of, for example, about 7 Tesla, and utilizing a superconducting magnet 25 having a proven design such as, for example, a Niobium-Titanium, copper stabilized conductor, the magnet having a north, first 26 and a south, second 27 poles driving a magnetic field 30 from the first pole to the second pole, with a space 28 formed therebetween to fit the torso 29 of a patient 6 to be treated. It is iterated that the orientation of the magnetic poles as shown in Figure 1, and as indicated above, is necessary for the present system to work as described herein. Ideally, such a magnet would have a "persistent switch" in its design to permit it to operate at full field for literally months at a time without the need for recharging.
As shown, the electromagnet 26 is mounted to a base B having a platform 1 having a top side 2 suitable to form a generally horizontal support for the patient, the platform further having first 3 and second 4 ends, configured to support the head and feet of the patient, respectively.

Continuing with Figures 1, 2, and 3 A, 4A-4C, the first embodiment of the present invention comprises an MHD LVAD (left ventricular assist device) configured to provide assistance to the heart 5 of the patient 6 via assist of the left ventricle 8, wherein an aortic electrode assembly 31 is placed into the abdominal aorta 7 of the patient via the femoral artery 9, the placement in similar fashion to the technique employed in facilitating a balloon angioplasty, as will be more fully explained infra.
The aortic electrode assembly 31 comprises a first 13, anterior electrode and a second 14, posterior electrode, the first 13 and second 14 electrodes configured to engage the inner diameter anterior and posterior, or upper and inner walls 7' of the blood vessel in which they are placed, in this case, the aorta 7 (with the patient laying on their back in a generally horizontal position). In the exemplary aortic electrode assembly 31, the first and second electrodes are held in parallel, spaced 33 relationship at opposing anterior and posterior walls of the blood vessel via a spreader assembly , which may comprise, for example, spring wire supports at the first end 34 of the electrodes, configured to allow for the electrodes to be held in a collapsed condition against one another for insertion, and to spread the electrodes against opposing inner walls of the blood vessel as shown once in the operating position.
Continuing with the Figures, each electrode has a length 15, a width 16, and ideally has concave 20 inner walls 17, 17' and convex outer walls 18, 18', so that the outer walls 18, 18' best engage the radial inner wall T of the blood vessel, and to provide the least obstructed, maximum passage of blood 11 therebetween. Ideally, the total electrode surface area should comprise 1/3-3/4+ of the inner diameter 19 surface area of the blood vessel in which it is placed, for maximum efficiency. The electrodes, and all materials utilized in the vicinity of the patient, should be formed of non-magnetic materials to avoid problems due to the very powerful magnetic field generated by the electromagnet 26. For example, the electrodes may be formed of certain non-metallic grades of stainless steel, or gold plated copper or the like.
The first and electrodes would have about the same dimensions, with the concave portions facing one another, and would measure, as an example, 2 centimeters by 10 centimeters.
Control wires 21, 21' communicate with the anterior 13 and posterior 14 electrodes, respectively, the control wires bundled 14 to a computer control unit (CCU) 22. The control wires could be twisted in an effort to eliminate unwanted voltages induced by the large external magnetic field whenever the pump current is changed Sensors 23 which may include Left Ventricular ECG (electrocardiogram), aortic blood flow measurement, blood gas content, including oxygen content, pulmonary pressure, pulmonary blood flow, right ventricular ECG, and the like may be provided, which likewise would feed into the CCU 22. Information from the sensors 23 may be utilized to control the pumping action of the present invention, as will be more fully explained infra.
In use as a LVAD, an incision 37 is made in the femoral artery 9 of the patient, and the aortic electrode assembly 31, in its collapsed 38 state (i.e., the first and second electrodes pressed against one another) is urged into the femoral artery 9 (see Figure 5), and up 40 into the region of the abdominal aorta 7, where the aortic electrode assembly 31 is positioned such that the first electrode 13 is oriented in anterior fashion relative to the patient, who is in a generally horizontal position on his back in the present example (Figure 1), with the second electrode 14 positioned in a posterior fashion, with the first and second electrodes spread apart in generally parallel fashion, such that the first and second electrodes communicate with the anterior and posterior inner wall portions of the abdominal aorta, as shown in Figures 4 A, 4 B, and 4C. As in Figure 1, the patient 6 is positioned such that the magnetic field 30, and associated lines of flux are orthogonal to the blood flow, with said magnetic field running through the blood 11 situated between the first 13 and second 14 electrodes.
Continuing with Figures 1, 2, 3, 4A-4C, to initiate blood flow, direct current flow is initiated to the electrodes via the control wires 21, 21', with a positive flow directed to the first, anterior electrode 13 (making the first electrode the anode), and a negative flow directed to the second, posterior electrode 14 (making the second electrode the cathode), thereby sending said D.C. current 37 through the blood 11 between the electrodes 13, 14. By directing the current through the blood 11, the blood between the electrodes 13, 14 is electrified (as blood is a conductor) and, because the electrified blood is simultaneously subject to orthogonal lines of flux from a high magnetic field 30, the electrified blood is subject to hydrodynamic pressures, in accordance with accepted MHD theory, discussed supra, and thereby urged to flow 10 toward the feet of the patient.
In the present example, the magnetic field strength remains about the same. However, by varying the current input to the electrodes, the hydrodynamic pressures, and thereby force of pumping, of the electrified blood between the electrodes can vary considerably, as will be further discussed below.
In the present scenario, for example, it is estimated that a voltage of six volts, four amps D.C. employed in the aortic electrode assembly in the manner taught above, in a 7 Tesla field, and the first and second electrodes each measuring about 2 centimeters by 10 centimeters, will provide a pumping pressure of about 12 mmHg, although the current, and associated pumping pressure, can vary considerably depending upon the magnetic field strength and induced electrode current from the CCU. This is illustrated in Figures 4D and 4E, which set forth approximate pressures for an electrode array similar in size to the present invention, in a 7 Tesla magnetic field, for Ringers Solution and Saline, respectively, which are believed to have conductivity characteristics similar to that of human blood.
A great feature of the present invention is that one can instantly vary the hydrodynamic pumping force of the system by varying the current sent to the electrodes. This is particularly advantageous, as indicated earlier, when one considers that the superconducting magnet, with a perpetual switch, will stay energized, and at about the same field strength, for up to months at a time, and it would generally be less desirable to vary the magnetic field to vary the pumping action. Thus, in the present system, as touched upon supra, the computer control unit

(CCU) can utilize ECG and other sensor data so as to vary the current to the electrodes to mimic the pumping of a healthy heart in rhythm with the patient's heart.
As shown in Figures 1 and 7, sensors monitoring the ECG, aortic pressure, and aortic blood flow communicate same back to the CCU which analyzes the data and compares same to a comparable healthy heart. Utilizing this data, the CCU can calculate an optimal waveform for current flow to the electrodes to induce hydrodynamic pumping of the blood between the electrodes, so as to mimic the pumping of a healthy heart, thereby providing life support to the patient and reducing the strain upon the damaged heart, all with nominally invasive electrode installation.
As an example, in Figure 7, the electrical activity 48 is monitored as an ECG line, indicating heart activity 47. Associated with said activity is blood pressure 49 and blood flow 50 wave forms indicating the patient's pressure 44 and flow 41 readings associated with EKG. For comparison, a healthy patients waveform for pressure 46 and flow 43 is superimposed thereupon.
Utilizing this data, the CCU calculates the appropriate blood pressure and flow for the patient, the appropriate current waveform to the electrodes to accomplish same, and sends said current waveform to the electrodes via the control wires (21, 21' in Figure 5), the first, anterior electrode (13 in Figure 4B) receiving the positive current, said positive current passing from said first, anterior electrode, through the blood (11 in Figure 4B) between the electrodes, and to the second, anterior electrode (14 in Figure 4B).
As indicated, the electrified blood, in conjunction with the indicated orthogonal magnetic field, hydrodynamically motivates said blood between the electrodes along the length of said electrodes, effectively pumping said blood and increasing the patient's blood pressure 45 and blood flow 42 to a level which is considered acceptable for maintaining the patient. For example, the present system, utilized as an LVAD, is expected to hydrodynamically motivate (i.e., "pump") about 4 liters of blood per minute at up to 15 mm Hg, although this figure may vary significantly depending upon the patient, the type of assistance, the condition of the heart, and other criteria.
It is reiterated that this pumping action follows the above wave form, and is not a steady flow, the simulation carried out by the CCU providing a current waveform to the aortic electrode assembly to facilitate the above pumping action to simulate the heart, as set forth in the above wave form. Consequently, the current applied to the electrodes via the CCU has a correlation to the wave forms, with the current rising to peak at the wave peak P, then declining to the next pump cycle, wherein the current (comprising voltage/amperage) again rises to simulate the heart pump, peaking at P', then again declining, and so on.
Continuing with Figures 1, 4 A and 4B, because the magnetic field runs from the first pole 26 to the second pole 27, and because the first, anterior electrode 13 is positive and the second, posterior electrode 14 is negative, the blood flow 10 facilitated by the MHD effectively streams the blood as a waveform so as to amplify the patient's debilitated heart's pressure and flow (due to the EKG and other monitoring and associated current variance from the CCU) toward the feet of the patient, resulting assistance in pumping of the left ventricle of the heart.

Referring to Figure 1, it is further indicated that the CCU may include a database 51, or have an network interface 52 to a database, so that it may consult information on accepted blood flow and pressure criteria in its calculations, as well as receive and share diagnostic reference data and operational criteria. Further, the network interface may be utilized by the CCU to communicate information and status on the patient to third parties, or be utilized to access said CCU from a distance for monitoring or control.

Figures 6A and 6B illustrate side and end views, respectively, of an exemplary conceptual design of a superconducting, high field strength magnet which might be utilized in the present invention, although it is iterated that this is only an example, and other designs (including some currently operating) could prove suitable for use in the present invention.
As discussed, the magnet need not be re-invented, and may utilize existing designs and materials, such as a Niobium-Titanium superconducting magnet utilizing a copper stabilized conductor, the magnet having a north, first 26 and a south, second 27 poles driving a magnetic field 30 from the first pole to the second pole, with a space 28 formed therebetween to fit the torso of a patient to be treated. The curved sections of the magnet may be fashioned from identical spools of conductor wound in the same direction, and connected in series. Straight sections are made up of a single spool of conductor, wound in one direction, and connected, along with the curved section spools, in series.
As shown, access panels 53 may be provided to contain vacuum, nitrogen coolant, and helium coolant access lines, as well as retractable power leads and the persistent switch. The winding outer level is surrounded by an LN2 thermal shield and vacuum vessel. Exemplary specifications are as follows:
Winding Bobbin Diameter: 1 Meter
Central Gap: 0.8 meter;
Vacuum Vessel Diameter: 1.3 meters (excluding service stacks);
Maximum field gap at center: 6.5+ Tesla

CARDIO BYPASS SYSTEM EMBODIMENT

Continuing with Figures 3B, 8, 8A, 8B, and 8C, a second embodiment of the invention is configured to provide a minimally invasive by-pass pump for coronary artery by-pass surgery. With the aortic electrode assembly 31 in the abdominal aorta, as discussed supra, providing a magnetohydrodynamic motive force (blood flow) away from the heart, a venal electrode assembly 31' having similar elements and design configuration, and placed in the inferior vena cava 7' of the abdomen, but with the posterior electrode 14' having positive polarity D.C. current, and the anterior electrode 13' being negative, (i.e., the electrodes polarity is opposite those of the aortic electrode assembly 31, which anterior 13 electrode was positive and posterior electrode 14 was negative, with current 36 going from top to bottom ) thereby hydrodynamically directing the blood flow 10' toward the heart. With the aortic electrode assembly 31 in the Aorta 7, and the venal electrode assembly in the Vena Cava 7' both electrodes energized and independently controllable via control wires 21" to the CCU in a manner similar to that discussed above, complete cardiac pumping action may be taken over for the heart just as it is currently done with a heart by-pass machine, but without the major opening of the chest cavity.

As indicated, in contrast with current coronary by-pass procedures, in the present system establishes artificial circulation without opening the chest cavity. The aortic electrode assembly 31 and the venal electrode assembly 31' are inserted through major blood vessel (s) such as the femoral artery and vein, respectively, then said electrodes are advanced into the aorta 7 and inferior vena cava 7', respectively. As indicated, the polarity of each electrode assembly will be such that the aortic electrode assembly facilitates flow in the aorta away from the heart 10 and the venal electrode assembly facilitates flow in the inferior vena cava has flow 10' toward the heart (Anterior electrode is negative, posterior electrode is positive). The aortic and venal electrode assemblies should be oriented in generally parallel configuration, and situated generally along the same plane.
Once the magnetohydrodynamic flow is in effect, the patients heart may be stopped, and much less invasive procedures can occur to repair coronary blood vessels such as through an endoscope, as discussed.
It is anticipated that the dimensions of the electrodes forming the venal electrode assembly 13' for use in the inferior vena cava will be about the same as the aortic electrode assembly, as employed in the aorta, above, although the operating current and pressures may be slightly different. The venal electrode assembly, urging blood to the right ventricle of the heart, must also urge the blood through the lungs as pulmonary circulation before returning to the left ventricle of the heart.

Accordingly, it is anticipated that the venal electrode assembly 13' will not have as great a pressure head as the aortic electrode assembly 13 in the aorta, so the operating voltage may be less for the venal electrode assembly.
For example, 5.5 volts D.C. at 3.5 amps, producing an anticipated pressure of 10 Hg; this is simply an estimate utilizing an electrodes forming the venal electrode assembly the same size as those employed in the aortic electrode assembly 31, although these estimates may vary considerably when the system is actually put into practice on a living being.
In utilization for a bypass, once the first and second electrode assemblies are installed into the aorta and inferior vena cava, respectively, as discussed, and the patient positioned such that the electromagnetic field lines (of adequate strength, for example 7-10 Tesla) pass through the torso of the patient and orthogonal to and through the blood situated between the anterior and posterior electrodes of the first and second electrodes, sensors (23' in Figure 1) on the patient are employed for sensing, pulmonary pressure, vena cava pressure and blood flow, pulmonary oxygenation, aortic pressure and blood flow and others are used for feedback in controlling the current wave forms sent to the first and second electrode assemblies, respectively.
Once the heart is stopped, the CCU (Figure 1) sends a current wave form to the first and second electrode assemblies so as to provide pumping in the artificial wave form to mimic that of the stopped heart, as shown in Figure 9, the aortic blood flow 62 facilitated by the aortic electrode assembly in the aorta, the pulmonary artery blood flow facilitated by the venal electrode assembly in the inferior vena cava.
With artificial circulation established, the surgeon operate on the heart utilizing endoscopic or other minimally invasive surgery, and re-start the heart once complete.
While the above embodiments disclose generation of the magnetic field outside of the body of the patient, it is indicated that utilizing existing technologies, magnetic fields of sufficient intensity may be generated locally within the confines of the blood vessel andorthagonal to the current flow, such as by one or more small bitter magnets or other small high field magnets, thereby dispensing with the necessity of a large, heavy, costly exterior magnet system.

The invention embodiments herein described are done so in detail for exemplary purposes only, and may be subject to many different variations in design, structure, application and operation methodology. Thus, the detailed disclosures therein should be interpreted in an illustrative, exemplary manner, and not in a limited sense.